What is a Cesarean Section? 

A cesarean section (commonly called c-section) is a surgical procedure in which an OB creates an incision near the pubic bone to remove the baby. During the procedure, the OB cuts through 7 layers of tissue

  • Skin.
  • Subcutaneous fat.
  • Fascia.
  • Muscle.
  • Peritoneum.
  • Uterus
  • Amniotic Sac.

What does c-section recovery look like?

After a c-section, most women are advised to avoid soaking the incision, limit driving, avoid lifting anything heavier than the baby, and limit strenuous activity for 6 weeks. Simple activities like getting into and out of bed, walking, and laying flat can be challenging and potentially painful after a c-section. Back pain, constipation, and scar sensitivity/discomfort can also be common after a c-section. 

Early recovery tips:

  • Walk often-this can be simple 3-5 minute walks throughout the day
    • This helps with blood flow, stimulates bowel movement, helps with stiffness/pain, and can help with mood
  • Perform a “log roll” to get into/out of bed for less strain on the incision 
  • Use a pillow over the incision while nursing/feeding baby or try a side lying position for nursing to limit discomfort 
  • Perform scar desensitization
    • Use a tissue to gently sweep or make circles on the skin AROUND the incision. Avoid the incision for the first 6 weeks. 
  • Use a squatty potty or step stool and breathe during bowel movements
    • Try not to bear down and hold your breath when pooping. This will make it more difficult to go and can be painful for the abdomen and incision 
  • Gently stretch the low back/abdomen 
    • Cat-cows
    • Laying flat
    • Hooklying trunk rotation 
  • See a Pelvic Health PT
    • Pelvic Health PTs can assess the incision, pelvic floor, lumbar spine, hips, and more to aid in optimal recovery. 

Later recovery tips: Pelvic health PTs are a great resource during this phase!

  • Strengthen the abdominal muscles
  • Scar mobilization
    • after 6 weeks or once the incision is well healed, direct scar mobilization can begin 
    • This can be done in a number of ways including cupping and dry needling with a PT
  • Gradually increase intensity of exercise to return to baseline activity levels

Cupping for scar mobilization